Monday, October 31, 2011


A couple of weeks ago the farmer from this stand at the Saturday Market made sure that I took a picture of this tomato he dressed up! Loved that!

Happy Halloween, All!


Friday, October 28, 2011

Still Me

This past year I've spent some time catching up with a couple of good friends. The three of us studied at the same university, moved to the same city afterward and eventually shared a house for a period of time. We saw each other through jobs, job changes, new cars and boyfriends, and went on a couple of vacations together. We each got married, had children and eventually two of us moved out of the city where we had participated in each others lives on such a regular basis. We've managed to see each other occasionally during the past few years, but it all depended on schedules......and rarely included the three of us in the same place at the same time.

About a year the request of one of the women, we met up for another vacation. No husbands, no kids, just the three of us for a week in a condo on an island. I have to say that for as much as we had all kept up via cards and Christmas letters and the occasional phone call, email or visit, I was just a little nervous to spend an entire week in the same space after twenty-something years. What if we were different? What if they had changed? What if I had changed and the friendships that worked well for me in my twenties no longer did? But I went.

We clicked quickly back into easy conversation. After reminding one another about some old stories and then working through the details of our own personal new stories, we moved having fun together where we are now. Since then, we've met up for a couple of short stints, the most recent being last Saturday.

Reconnecting has caused me to give some thought to my twenty-something year old self. The 'me' in my post college years when I was truly on my own, making choices and decisions about how to spend my time and who to spend it with. Learning to identify my skills and interests, and to prioritize the use of what limited resources I had. 

And what I found was this: I am still basically the same person, still prioritizing the same things. Choosing friends and who I spend my time with for the same reasons; spending hours in ways I find meaningful. I still have a pet that is a wonderful companion (although back then it was a big orange tabby) and think that belonging to a family is a pretty good deal. Still love to cook up a good pasta dish. Write down my thoughts. Carry a camera. Still enjoy spending an afternoon reading or baking or knitting. Walking is still my favorite exercise; Fall my favorite season......although I might just say that about each season as it comes along.

Looking back at the threads that have run so consistently through my life......I find it comforting. They are my roots and structure and foundation. Although there have been years when I could not give them as much time or attention as I may have wanted, I have not let them go. They are 'me'.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!



Tuesday, October 25, 2011


    It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.
                                                                - Henry David Thoreau

Happy beautiful fall day to you,


Friday, October 21, 2011

Their Turf

We've spent some pretty special weekends during the past six years with each of our boys on their college campuses. They've taken a bit of planning on our parts, what with arranging time off work and travel plans. The older boys started college when Joey was a high school freshman, so during those years we needed to line up places for him to stay, and rides to and from football practices and games before he could drive. There were hotel  and dinner reservations to make, football or concert tickets to secure, activities to think about and weather to plan for.  I often cooked or baked something to bring along so they each could enjoy a taste of home. We otherwise loaded the car with seasonal items such as coats, hats, gloves and boots; things they may have overlooked as they packed up during a warm week in August.

These weekends took some planning on the boys parts as well. For as excited as we were to go see them, they seemed appreciative and genuinely happy when we showed up. It was obvious that they put some thought into what we would do. They showed us around campus and around town. We were introduced to their friends, their friends parents and their professors. To good music and cool cafes. They showed us the best places to get hot dogs, sub sandwiches, burritos, steaks, burgers, pancakes, pizza, cups of coffee or great beer. We saw where they lived, studied, hiked and played. We were able to experience snapshots of their college town and campus life.

Looking back, it's been fun to see that traditions have formed surrounding these weekends. We have almost always done certain things or eaten at certain places from year to year. There are requisite parental runs to Costco, Walmart and Target. Trips to the mall or REI. Marc and I have both found things around their towns or on their campuses that we enjoy doing while the boys are in class, taking a nap or otherwise engaged.

I had kind of a lump in my throat during the last weekend I spent with Patrick before he graduated. At his school they have separate Mom and Dad Weekend's, so Marc and I were each able to have a couple days of good one-on-one time with him each year. At the University of Montana, where both Peter and Joey attend(ed), it's a Family Weekend. Last weekend was Joey's second. Just a couple more to go and I will have a lump in my throat about that campus, too. Peter was such a great sport. Although he still lives in Missoula, he kept reminding us that it was Joey's turn, allowing and encouraging his brother to make the plans and call the shots.

What a great opportunity for parents to see the adults that their children are becoming. We've returned home each time feeling so proud. I'm hoping they want to continue with some kind of similar weekend tradition, even after graduation.

On the website Make It Missoula I wrote guessed it.....Family Weekend this week. To look at some photos and take a quick read, click here: GRIZ Family Weekend

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!



Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Home Again

A short piece I wrote about adjusting to the fact that my children are now adults was published at yesterday, which was kind of funny timing.  It was posted on the day we were returning to a newly 'emptied nest' after a trip to Missoula to visit Peter and Joey. The day a moving van picked up the rest of Patrick's things, and that he boarded a plane to go live in Indianapolis 'for good'. Timing......

Here is the link. Hope you will check it out:

After a couple stops, one at Hudson's Hamburgers in Coeur D'Alene for lunch and one to visit with my parents, we returned home tired, but happy nonetheless. It was a great trip but good to be home. The dog was so happy to see us.

We have heard mention of Hudson's quite a few times and have often talked about stopping in to try one of their famous burgers. On this trip, however, we were actually hungry at the same time we passed through! 

If you decide to stop in, this is what you will get: an uncomplicated menu, a good burger and 104 years of family tradition. There are few choices and I believe the current menu is the same as the original. Hamburgers, cheeseburgers, and egg or ham and egg sandwiches. Burger patties are formed and cooked, and pickles and onions sliced on the other side of the counter......the only seating in this small place. I loved it. The cook was the original owner's great grandson.

Good. Simple. Family.

The drive home from start to finish was beautiful. Fall colors on both Lolo and Fourth of July Passes were stunning. Aspen shimmered and glowed golden, and underbrush flamed shades of red and orange. At this point, the larch are barely beginning to turn......just a few shades lighter......but by next week the hillsides should look like a massive a quilt of green and gold.

Once we hit central Washington, the sunset seemed to last forever. The trees, old barns, horses, cattle and farmland that we passed were set against a backdrop of deep blue and pink. Long wisps of clouds looked painted onto the evening sky and we watched the foreground turn into black silhouettes against it.  No time to stop for pictures,  just enjoying the memory.

Wishing you a wonderful week ahead......



Friday, October 14, 2011

The Way It Goes

We're planning a Road Trip to Missoula to visit Peter and Joey. Life has been somewhat of a whirlwind these days as far as our family is concerned.....our front door seemingly in constant motion with all of the comings and goings. No longer is the time we spend with each other predictable. Gone are the days with schedules; knowing what time the boys will get up, leave or come home on a daily basis. When I know exactly when or if  they will be able to show up. Jobs, school, opportunities......It's a different stage of life and any attempts at predictability are futile..

We see each other when it's possible with no expectations. Each visit will be made the best of.  As it turns out, the one who now lives the farthest away will be home for a few days while we are in a different state visiting his brothers. When we return, we'll see him for just a few minutes, if at all.

We're home, they're not. They're home.....we're not. Our relationships are about love, priorities and timing. Appreciating each visit for what it is. Being thankful that we live in an age where long distance communication is fast, inexpensive and easy. 

And that's the way it goes......

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

XO, Margaret

PS. You can read about my love of a good Road Trip , specifically our trips to Missoula MT, here!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Time To Warm Things Up Inside

It has taken a bit of coaxing to get the dog outside this morning......last night the wind whipped up, threatening just below a howl. This morning it is still gusting and blowing and tossing leaves from their branches. Some swirl and land, while others cartwheel and scoot, ending up in horizontal piles pressed up against the new fence.

Rain is pouring down in sheets so hard that I if I close my eyes, I could pretend I live near a raging river or a waterfall with all of its noise. Huge drops bounce when they hit the patio and fading flowers hang onto their stalks for dear life, bobbing and swinging with all of this action. 

This early morning, the sky is a grey-green back drop behind dark silhouettes of cedar, maple and alder. Although it brightens as the minutes pass, I know that the forecast for today means we will settle comfortably into a dull grey......with only very rare patches of filtered sun expected .

It feels like a day to simmer beef-stew with lots of vegetables. Spice cake sounds good. One thing I do plan to make is a tomato cobbler  (which I consider to be one of the world's most perfect concoctions).... with the two pounds of heirloom cherry tomatoes sitting on the kitchen counter. They are ripe and gorgeous, and range anywhere from pumpkin to nearly black in color.

Saturday was the last day of our local Farmer's Market and I think I will miss the tomato stand most of all. I can't think of anyplace I've found such flavorful and meaty specimens since I was able to pick them fresh out of our garden growing up. With all variety of shapes, sizes, colors and flavors to choose from, I will need to figure out what to replace these with in my diet as they have been a staple all summer long. I will also miss the colorful variety of the rest of the market: items I won't be able to find in the grocery store, the sweet homemade signs, the warm, helpful and happy vendors and the spicy Italian sausage and pepper sandwiches.

Time to warm things up inside now......Wishing you a wonderful week ahead!



Friday, October 7, 2011

Fall Fashion Show

What the well dressed flower will be wearing this fall...... Brought to you by the lovely specimens at the Issaquah Learning Garden. Hope you enjoy them!
Have a wonderful weekend!
XO Margaret

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


This afternoon Marc, Patrick and I will head downtown, grab a bite to eat and then take in a professional soccer game. This is something that those two, Marc and Patrick, usually do together along with a couple of their friends, but this time I'm coming along. The two of them (and Peter) grew up playing soccer, have an understanding of the game and all of its nuances that I do not, and share a tight bond regarding it.  Marc coached our older boys team for seven years, all the way through high school.  Although I can't participate in many (most) of their conversations about this sport, I enjoy them. I am happy that this is one of the ways they know each other well; something that they've been able to do together over the course of the years.

As soon as the game is over the three of us will head to the airport where Pat will catch a red-eye flight to a new city, a new job and a new chapter in his life. He is taking a chance, planting himself somewhere unexpected and staying open to see where it leads.  When we come home Marc and I will begin a new chapter in our lives as well. Another one. Looking back, that is what our relationship, marriaige and family have been all about. Beginnings and transitions. Endings that are melded into different beginnings. There is always something new, something that is over and a whole bunch of real life in between.

As I think about his send off, I know that my hopes are the same as those of most parents: that we have done an 'OK' job. That we have taught him what he needs to know. Prepared him for most situations. Helped him out enough, but not too much. That he leaves loaded with love and confidence and the knowledge that he has people he can call on whenever he needs to, for whatever reason he needs to. That he understands the power and strength of love and family.

Wishng you and yours a wonderful week!

Warmly, Margaret
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